The Elgar Companion to Social Economics
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The Elgar Companion to Social Economics

Edited by John B. Davis and Wilfred Dolfsma

As this comprehensive Companion demonstrates, social economics is a dynamic and growing field that emphasizes the key role that values play in the economy and in economic life. Social economics treats the economy and economics as being embedded in the larger web of social and ethical relationships. It also regards economics and ethics as essentially connected, and adds values such as justice, fairness, dignity, well-being, freedom and equality to the standard emphasis on efficiency. The Elgar Companion to Social Economics brings together the leading contributors in the field to elucidate a wide range of recent developments across different subject areas and topics. In so doing the contributors also map the likely trends and directions of future research. This Companion will undoubtedly become a leading reference source and guide to social economics for many years to come.
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Chapter 1: Environment and Sustainability

Jouni Paavola and Inge Røpke


Jouni Paavola and Inge Røpke 1. Introduction Environment and sustainability are issues where many concerns of social economics such as embeddedness, plural values and social justice are highly pertinent. Somewhat paradoxically, there has been relatively little research on the environment and sustainability in the core social economics research community. But this is not to say that social economic research on the environment and sustainability does not exist. The bulk of this research has been generated by scholars who identify themselves with ecological economics or political ecology, and has been published in a wide variety of outlets. Our chapter sets this scholarship in its broader social economic context and examines in some detail some of its core research strands. In what follows, we will first briefly discuss how we understand social economics, how it has related to the emerging agenda of research on the environment, and how that research has become institutionalized. We will then examine in somewhat greater detail two areas of environmental research where social economics plays a significant role: the research on institutional sources of environmental problems, and the research on monetary valuation and associated environmental decision-making. We conclude the chapter with a brief assessment of the likely future agenda for social economic research on sustainability and the environment. 2. What do we mean by social economics? Social economics is a more heterogeneous and less integrated academic enterprise than mainstream economics because its practitioners have found their intellectual homes from various heterodox economic traditions, from...

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